How do I preserve a rooster pelt?

frostbite

Songster
8 Years
Sep 27, 2011
481
15
121
Fairbanks, Alaska
Don't know which forum this fits in...

I have a young rooster that I have to butcher, but my nephew wants the pelt, feathers and skin and all, to use the feathers to tie fishing flies. He's really quite good, an artist.

Anyway, after I skin the bird, what do I do with the pelt? Is it best to just freeze it and ship it frozen? Or is there a way to dry it so that it stops being susceptible to a smelly decomposition, so that timing of the shipment isn't a problem?

Thanks for any help you can give me. I'm keeping that pelt on the live bird for safekeeping till I know what to do with it afterwards.
 

annageckos

Crowing
12 Years
Sep 6, 2009
1,047
762
381
SE PA
Borax works well. You can also use salt too and let it dry flat, skin side up. Though if you are shipping it it maybe cheaper to ship it frozen and let your nephew dry it.
 

ScottnLydia

Songster
8 Years
Jul 16, 2011
289
30
118
Be sure to remove ALL the meat and fat that you can! Putting a good handful of borax on first helps to give it some 'tooth' so it isn't so slippery, and just scrape it witha spoon. Don't forget to work on the tail butt if you are including that ! Then another good dosing of borax on the freshly cleaned skin.

If you want to dry it flat, simply use a staple gun and stretch it on a board. Staple it at the top, then stretch lightly and staple the bottom. Do likewise to the left, then right, then each opposite, diagonal corner. When it's dry and hard, you can pull out the staples with a pair of pliers. It will be flat and can be mailed in a flat mailer.

Good luck!

~S
 

galanie

Treat Dispenser No More
10 Years
Aug 20, 2010
7,950
347
361
Colmesneil,TX
What Scott said. I've done that exact thing and it works great. Either borax or salt will work for dying, just lay it on there 1/4 inch thick or more.
 

ScottnLydia

Songster
8 Years
Jul 16, 2011
289
30
118
What Scott said. I've done that exact thing and it works great. Either borax or salt will work for dying, just lay it on there 1/4 inch thick or more.
Both will preserve the skin by dehydration, Borax will also bug-proof it. That's why it's used in taxidermy to preserve bird skins. Once upon a time, an arsenic solution was used. Killed the bugs, and a few taxidermists too! Then in the '30s or '40s, they found that borax was just as deadly to bugs, but not to people.

It will get pretty damp as it draws the water out of the skin, that's O.K. Stretch it before it dries out, though, if that's what you want to do.

~S
 

frostbite

Songster
8 Years
Sep 27, 2011
481
15
121
Fairbanks, Alaska
Thanks all. The pelt is now in a cool place, boraxed up and waiting till I feel like looking at it again. If I leave it there for several weeks, will it hurt it? Or can I ignore it till Christmas?
 

galanie

Treat Dispenser No More
10 Years
Aug 20, 2010
7,950
347
361
Colmesneil,TX
Ignore it till New Years. So long as it dries and is in a place that it will stay dry, it's fine. Might want to take it loose and shake off the borax around then though and bag it up.
 

ScottnLydia

Songster
8 Years
Jul 16, 2011
289
30
118
I've kept salted hides for years before I took them to the tannery, and they still turned out fine. The trick is to keep them dry, cool and out of the sun!

~S
 

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